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Our History

The Festival Players Guild

...was founded in 1969 when Michigan City businessman Lyman Taylor purchased the St. John's Church property at 9th and Franklin Streets in Michigan City, Indiana. For 28 years this building, The Canterbury, was "home" to the programs of the Guild.

After Taylor sold the building, the Guild continued to present its programs in the Canterbury until the new owners decided that they, also, wanted to offer the property for sale. After years of renting, the Guild decided to renovate a building it owned at 807 Franklin Street into a complete Theatre Complex.

From the outset, the Guild has been fortunate to have capable artistic direction through its staff. Dale Miller served as the Canterbury Summer Theatre's first artistic director. Miller assembled a talented cast, drawn primarily from Northwestern University students and graduates to present the 1969 and 1970 seasons. Since that first season, seven have held the position of artistic director with the current artistic director, Ray Scott Crawford, serving in the position for thirty seasons.

Past Artistic Directors

Addison Myers
Addison Myers
1971-1973
John Robinson
John Robinson
1974
Maureen O'Reilly
Maureen O'Reilly
1975
Bob Keller
Bob Keller
1975
Gene Johnson
Gene Johnson
1975
R. Gutierrez
Ricardo Gutierrez
1977-1986
Ray Crawford
Ray Scott Crawford
1986-Present
 

Where Are They Now?

In our almost fifty-year history, the Guild has hosted over 800 theatre artists who have made Michigan City their temporary summer home. While not all have continued in careers with the performing arts, among our "alumni" are Tony Award™ nominees and winners, television personalities, college faculty, regional theatre directors, actors, writers, and other production-related personnel.

Below are updates on many of the wonderful and talented people with whom we have worked as of our 40th anniversary in 2008. If you are a former Canterbury Resident Company member, we would love to include you! Send us your information at info@festivalplayersguild.org

Martha (Peavey) Adrienne (1989-1990, 1993, 1996) has continued working as a freelance actor/director in Chicagoland since her glory days at Canterbury! She has done a ton of Gilbert and Sullivan shows with the Savoy-aires in Evanston and has worked with companies such as City Lit, Appletree, Victory Gardens, Lyric Center for American Artists, Chicago Opera Theatre, Light Opera Works, The Moving Dock Theatre Company (founded and directed by fellow Canterburian Dawn Arnold!) and others. Martha received her M.F.A. in Directing from Roosevelt University and is currently continuing her adult education in the Basic Program at U. of C.. These days, Ms. Adrienne is expressing her creativity through travel, conceptual art, performance art and the practice of Tai Chi. Her future plans include more teaching and coaching because she loves working with actors and singers in the quest for that magic that is theatre. Happy 40th Anniversary, Canterbury! Will you be 39 from this point forward?

Amanda (Donelson) Aldridge (1978-1982) is the Resident Costume Designer and Choreographer at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon,Virginia, where she resides in a 100 year old house with her husband, Richard Rose. Amanda has designed costumes for over 125 productions, and choreographed 25 since being at Barter, being most fortunate to be able to pursue both her passions. At Canterbury, where she and Richard met, Amanda worked as a dancer and choreographer, and also executed her very first costume design, for Picnic.

Julie Barber (1996) Julie received her Masters degree in Music Theater and Opera from SIUC, worked from Amish Acres to Portland Centre Stage, and sang with Portland Opera Association and the Bloomington Early Music Festival. She is married, with two beautiful children, and directs, choreographs, music directs, and teaches at Taylor University.

Laura M. Beeman (1999-2001) is married to Clayton Nugent and has returned to school at Louisiana Tech University to finish her degree in Theatre. After her stint with Canterbury Summer Theatre, Laura toured the USA and Canada with Missoula Children's Theatre. She is a successful choreographer in the Shreveport/Bossier City, LA theatre scene.

Charity Beyer (2003) Charity graduated from Texas Tech University in 2004, and has since moved to Los Angeles, where she is an active and working member of both the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, appearing in commercials, film and television. She most recently did a stint on the USA Network show, Monk, with Tony Shaloub. She has given up costuming since her days at Canterbury, but has kept her love of clothing alive by opening her own custom apparel printing company.

Stephanie (Bickel) Bingham (2000) Stephanie is the Founder and Director of Speak by Design (speakbydesign.com), an executive coaching firm based out of Chicago. Speak by Design provides private and group trainings for people seeking to become crisp, confident, and credible communicators. Services include executive coaching, presentation skills, vocal image, accent reduction, and other custom training programs. When she isn’t working, she is chasing around her one year old twins, Ben and Charlotte. She and husband, John Bingham, are expecting their third baby in May 2008.

Douglas Bomberger (1987) earned his doctorate in music history from the University of Maryland in 1991 and has been a professor since then. A highlight of his career was eleven years at the University of Hawaii. He is currently professor of musicology and chair of Fine and Performing Arts at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

Teresa Bomberger (1987) has performed at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, Maryland Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Diamond Head Theatre, Cornell Savoyards, and other theatres since her summer at Canterbury. She currently teaches voice lessons, sings with her husband Doug, and takes care of their two sons, ages 10 and 16.

Heather Bonahoom (2007) Heather is currently a resident of New York City where she is employed as an actor in the Off-Broadway show, Bitty Bear’s Family Tree at The American Girl Theatre. She has joined Actors Equity from her service with this show, and is hoping to become a member of the Screen Actors Guild soon. Heather just performed in a staged reading of the musical, The Really Big Pirate Show, and is working on several upcoming films, one of which includes a digital series for Warner Brothers; she also recently gained agent representation. To learn more, you can visit her website at heatherbonahoom.com

D. Neil Bremer (1978-1982) is the Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum, about 15 miles directly west of Chicago's Loop. After moving to Chicago in 1982 to work at a popular dinner theatre, Neil began his museum career at The Art Institute of Chicago. At the same time he performed for over 15 years as a singer, guitar and banjo player, comedian and master of ceremonies at three of the longest running comedy dinner theatres in Chicago- King's Manor, The Dry Gulch, and Gangstertown. Still playing and singing, Neil was recently a featured member of Arranmore, a major Irish/Americana/Folk band in Chicago playing concerts dates throughout Illinois. At Canterbury, some of his fondest memories include Tony in West Side Story, Sky in Guys and Dolls, Hal in Picnic, and other roles he's forgotten unless he sees a picture!

Barry Bruder (1985, 1987) has been studying the healing arts for over 30 years, integrating this knowledge with bodywork to create his own unique approach to healing, called Bodywurx (www. bodywurx.com). Barry has a private practice in Los Angeles, where he uses Bodywurx to benefit those afflicted with critical and chronic illnesses, and utilizes his training in externalization to enable people to release the deep emotional scars created by trauma, severe pain and anger..He also enjoys singing -- especially to his wife Laura, his daughters, Ruby and Skyler, and their dog Inca.

Katherine Burke (1994) Katherine teaches in the Theatre Division at Purdue University. Additionally, she has her own business (www.interplaytheatre.com) through which she helps communities create dialogue about challenging issues such as diversity, substance use, and sexual assault. She is married to pianist and music director, Jonathan Swoboda. Their lovely daughter, Vivian, was born in August 2007.

Mark Catlett (2001-2002) After leaving Canterbury, Mark relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he received his M.F.A. in Musical Theater Performance in 2005. Since then, he has been working professionally and became a member of Actors Equity in 2006. Currently, Mark is the Assistant Artistic Director at Seaside Music Theater. Mark's experience in Michigan City was extremely valuable and set him on his current career path!

Angela (Thompson) Chadwick (2003) Angela lives in the sunny city of London, England, where she met and married Nick Chadwick. She currently is a Film Producer for a charity organization called Alpha International, and just finished working on her first national commercial.

Kerry Cole (1987, 1991-1992) is an accomplished actress, director and stage manager. She has also taught at several colleges, including University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas, and Richland College, where she designed the first online course. Based in Dallas, Kerry works on 2-4 productions a year, and for fun, goes sailing. Regarding her time at Canterbury, she says nothing can beat a summer where you sometimes get to wear a sweater at night.

Dan Crowley (1983, 1988) Dan's life in acting gave way to a career as a fine artist. His work is carried at the Perfect Pear Gallery on State Street in Chicago, as well as The Leigh Gallery on Halsted, and his web site is dancrowleystudio.com. Dan says hello to all the other survivors of the hot summers of '83 and '88!

Jennifer Farrell (1994) After Canterbury, Jennifer graduated from Northwestern University, while acting and designing in Chicago. Then, heading to Los Angeles, and seeking to expand her horizons, Jennifer launched Jennifer Farrell Designs (www.jenniferfarrelldesign.com), which focuses on the creation of exciting events and relaxing environments both indoors and out. Also, she has become a familiar face as host of the long-running A&E home improvement television series, Find & Design. Prior to joining A&E, Jennifer was seen on Style Network's hit, My Celebrity Home. She spent three seasons as co-host and designer for Lifetime Television's home makeover show, Merge. She was on the Fox Network show, Renovate My Family, as well as Fox Television's Design Intervention, and has been featured on shows such as Before and After'noon Movies for USA Network and Outer Spaces for HGTV, her own award-winning gardens having been highlighted on the network as well. Jennifer is also currently a senior designer with the renowned Southern California design firm, Garrett Interiors.

Norma Felbinger (1991-1992, 1996-1998. 2000, 2003) is retired from full-time employment, and loving it. She received her Master's degree in Educational Technology in 2001, and although she retired from teaching in 2005, continues to sub for Deaf students in Chicago. She sings in various organizations and groups, and travels as often as she can afford. Happy 40th, Canterbury, and best wishes for another 40 years!

Paul Gaffney (1982) continues to work as a teacher and director. He was on the drama faculty of the University of Texas at Austin for seven years, followed by 16 years as Professor of Drama at Dartmouth College.He just completed 12 years as the Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University in Texas, and has returned to the full-time faculty. Through the years he has directed at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Nebraska Repertory Theater, the California Theater Center, the Golden Spike Repertory Theatre in Utah, el Teatro la Comedia in Costa Rica, and the Unity Theater in Texas. Over thirty years later, he fondly remembers his great experience at the Canterbury.

Kevin Gladish (1998-2003) continues to act and direct in Chicago, working with such companies as Stage Left, the side project, Timeline, and Steep Theatre Company. Most recently, at Steep, Kevin directed the successful Midwest premiere of Coronado, by Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.

Kari-Anne (Blocher) Innes (1996-1997) Kari-Anne is Assistant Director of the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, where she also serves as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Theatre, and Director of Theatre Outreach Performances and Young Actors Shakespeare Workshop. She is married to Brian and has a five year old named Jakob “Angus.”

Edward Kerros (1989-2001) Edward continues to direct in the Chicago area, including a world-premiere opera, as well as musicals and comedies for Oak Park Village Players (where he also served as Managing Director). Edward lives with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Allison, in downtown Chicago. Happy 40th, Canterbury!

Matthew Krause (1998, 2000-2002) Matt lives in Chicago with his wife, Maureen, and beginning June 2008, their son. Since Canterbury, he's been an Equity actor in Chicago, with brief forays to Seattle and New Haven. He still dabbles in music and is currently training to become a piano technician.

Robin (Reddell) Lage (1987) is performing in her "role of a lifetime" as wife of John and mother of a 9 year old son and 3 year old daughter. She lived in Los Angeles for 5 years (where she met her husband in an acting class) and then they moved to New York for 5 years, where her son was born...but Texas called her home and she now resides in Dallas with her family. She has such fond memories of the wonderful people at Canterbury and her unforgettable summer there!

Brian LeTraunik (1995-1996) Brian is a Certified Teacher of stage combat with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and has taught and choreographed stage combat throughout the country. He is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Acting at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

David Lipschutz (2006) Since Canterbury, David has continued doing professional theatre in the Chicagoland area. However, beginning in January of 2007, he started graduate school at The John Marshall Law School. David still continues to do theatre on the side, but hopefully, a prosperous career in the legal world is in his future!

Kristy Lockhart (1998-1999) Kristy writes original work and performs in shows around Chicago. Her work has appeared in the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival with Curious Theatre Branch for three years running, and she premiered her first play, You Too Can Be An Executive Secretary, at Estrogen Fest 2007. She lives with the love of her life, artist Brandi Lewis, and works in marketing and PR.

Brad Lyons (1979, 1986) is Artistic Director of Timber Lake Playhouse, where he has directed/produced 89 shows. He appeared as Caiaphas in the National Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. An avid playwright, he founded the Playwrights Colony at TLP, celebrating its seventh annual conference. Brad has returned to school (Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago) to work on his teaching certification in Secondary Education English. He is a Board Member for the Illinois Theatre Association, where he represents the state's professional theatre division.

Caitlin McGlone (2006) is currently living in Chicago and working with Keller Graduate School of Management as a Center Service Coordinator in Academics. She has been continually pursuing theatre since leaving Canterbury. Some of her Chicago credits include Passion with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Envoy (Echo Theatre Company), and is currently in a (rock) production of Hamlet with Polarity Ensemble Theatre. She is an Equity Membership Candidate and plans to continue performing in Chicago as long as Chicago will hold her!

Sally Monroe (1987) Sally lives in Los Angeles with her young son, her husband and a dog named Biscuit. She has been running ARC Talent Management for 6 years, representing performers for television, film and theatre work. Still a professional clown, Sally owns and operates Silly Sally's Entertainment (www.SillySallysEntertainment.com), booking puppeteers, singers, dancers, magicians, balloon artists and other children's entertainers throughout the L.A. area.

Mary K. (Nigohosian) NieKamp (1988-1990) is working as a professional actor/singer and private voice instructor in the Chicagoland area. She relocated to Chicago from Detroit in 1992 after marrying her husband, David, who has his own private practice in St. Charles as a clinical psychologist. Mary earned a Master in Church Music degree (1998) and has worked as a Director of Music/choir director for two Episcopal churches in the western suburbs since 1994. She currently teaches private voice instruction at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, and Batavia High School, in the city where she resides. She has two daughters, Faith (2004) and Noelle (2007) and has performed more frequently since their birth than she previously had since moving to Chicago.

Megan O'Neil (2006-2007, 2009) Megan graduated cum laude from North Central College with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and received the Outstanding Theatre Student Award. She is currently interning with B Street Theatre (Sacramento), gaining Equity credits before returning to Chicago to look for work. Megan also plans on pursuing graduate school in the near future.

Stacy Rauba (1987) Stacy's "trial-by-fire" experience, singlehandedly handling all costuming duties during her season at Canterbury, prepared her for the demands of her 15 year old high-end custom clothing business, and the specialized sewing work that she does for TV & magazine commercials, photographers, and feature movies.

Richard Rose (1977-1981) After starting his professional career at Canterbury, where he met his wife of 26 years, Amanda Aldridge, Rick is now the Producing Artistic Director of historic Barter Theatre, one of the oldest professional theatres in the US. In his 16th season at Barter and only the third Artistic Director in Barter’s illustrious 75-year history, Rick has produced and directed theatre throughout the United States including in New York City. At Barter, Rick has more than tripled the annual attendance, setting a record-breaking season in 2006 with over 160,000 ticket-buyers. He has brought Barter into the international spotlight through an international exchange with Russia, New York productions, the premieres of new works and the founding of Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. Rick has his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing and Design from the University of California at Davis and his Bachelor of Arts from St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin., where he was honored with a “distinguished achievement award in Humanities.” Rick has done post-graduate work at New York University and worked for the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.

Eric C. Skiles (2002) Eric received his M.F.A. in Acting/Directing from Texas Tech in the spring of 2003. Since then, he has been the Artistic Director of Theatre at Kingwood College (now LoneStar College-Kingwood). He remembers his summer in Michigan City fondly, and constantly talks to his students about the majesty and travesty that is "Summer Stock Theatre." Cheers to the old Commune House on the South Shore Line - and all those crazy summer nights!

Adrienne Smith (1994) Adrienne is an ensemble member of Hell in a Handbag Productions in Chicago.Other credits include shows with Theatre Building, side project (Jeff Citation nomination – 2005), LaCosta, Infamous Commonwealth, Headstrong, Viaduct and The Free Associates. She recently performed in A Man of No Importance at Bailiwick Repertory, with Canterbury alum, Nancy Kolton.

Ken Sonkin (1982) is an actor, teacher, and director based in San Francisco for over 25 years. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, Ken has worked at American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, Denver Center Theater, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Pacific Resident Theater Ensemble, Sonoma Rep (Associate Artist), Alternative Theater Ensemble (Founding Member), Sacramento Theater Company, San Jose Stage Company, and SF Playhouse. He holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Ohio State University and an M.F.A. from A.C.T. Ken was the Artistic Director of The Regency Center in San Francisco and the creator/director of The Theater Artists Institute, the professional actor training program for American Musical Theater of San Jose. As a magician, he was voted the #1 Street Performer in San Francisco, toured extensively throughout the world, and entertained for Queen Elizabeth II of England. He currently acts and directs around the country, and teaches acting at The University of San Francisco.

Jeff Theiss (2005) is living in Ithaca, New York, pursuing a Masters of Music in Opera/Musical Theatre Conducting at Ithaca College. After he graduates, he hopes to move to NYC to begin a career as a Music Director...but first, he'll probably have to play 4th Keyboard in The Lion King, or something, for a while.

Art Thomas (1976-1977) Following his two summers at Canterbury, Art went on to graduate from Ball State University. He worked for seven seasons at Opryland U. S. A. where he rose from general technician to become Lighting Designer. He went on to become the Lighting Director for the celebrity theatre at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, N. J., where he designed for many of the headliner entertainers who performed there. This was followed by a nearly twenty year career in management with the Walt Disney Company, the last ten of which were as Director of Operation for Walt Disney Entertainment. He retired from full time work in 2009 and is now the Technical Director for the Florida Association of Magical Entertainers. Art lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife, Sue, who is a Producer of conventions and industrial shows.

Joel Thomas (1972, 1974-1976) Growing up in Michigan City, Joel started volunteering at the Canterbury in 1972, working in the scene shop and running followspot for Carnival. After a brief hiatus, he returned in 1974 in the cast of Oklahoma!, was in the 1975 company, and performed in George M! in 1976. Also, for the '76 season, Joel was hired as the Assistant Technical Director, but was promoted to Technical Director after the first show. After graduating from Hanover College in 1980, he enlisted in the Army and stayed for 22 years. Joel is now the Technical Director/Stage Manager for the Department of Music at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, and occasionally works as Lighting Designer for The Roxy Regional Theatre.

Kristin Wetherington (2004) currently resides in New York, where she has continued her
studies at The Neighborhood Playhouse and Alvin Ailey. Since Canterbury, Kristin has appeared in numerous productions including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Footloose (Ariel) and Songs for a New World. She will join the international tour of Aida in the fall of 2009.

Sarah Megan White (2000) Sarah recently moved back to Chicago from a 5 year stint in L.A. where she enjoyed success playing the title role in the hilarious rock musical hit, Sneaux: The Sinsational Gothic Horror Figure Skating Musical! Since moving back to Chicago, Sarah has been doing musicals, and singing, throughout the city and suburbs. Recently, Sarah performed in Fiorello! at TimeLine Theater (with another former Canterbury actress, Sara Sevigny). In summer 2008, she will be seen as Mother in Ragtime, and following, in Some Enchanted Evening at Noble Fool Theatricals. Also, she is currently celebrating five years of marriage with her husband, Fred. Happy birthday, Canterbury!

Andy Wibbels (1996) Andy is a recognized expert in blogging and related technologies, and is author of the book Blogwild.(GOblogwild.com/).

John Wooding (1987-1989) was the resident lighting designer at Canterbury for three seasons. He has worked as a stagehand in New York City for over two decades, and is currently the head electrician at Studio 54, the permanent Broadway home of Roundabout Theatre. John and his wife have two sons, Max and Sam.

 

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